Former Hinchingbrooke School headteacher stunned by OBE

RETIRED Hinchingbrooke School headteacher Keith Nancekievill said he was stunned when he received a phonecall to be told that he was included in the new year honours list.

MBEs were announced for a museum curator and a sports coach, with an OBE for a former senior school headteacher.

There were a further six honours given to people in Huntingdonshire, including Olympic star Louis Smith and former St Ivo School student, Paralympic sprinter Jonnie Peacock.

The OBE went to retired Hinchingbrooke School headteacher Keith Nancekievill, 64, who said he was stunned when he received the call informing him of the honour – given for his services to education.

He was a headteacher for 25 years. He stepped down from his role at Hinchingbrooke last July after nine years, but prior to working in Huntingdon had been head of Gosforth High School, in Newcastle.

Mr Nancekievill, who lives in Tilbrook, told The Hunts Post that he had been nominated by a range of people he worked with throughout his career.

“I’m a bit overwhelmed and surprised as I wasn’t expecting it,” he said.

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“It is really humbling that the number of people I have known over my career have supported the nomination for the honour, a significant number of which were from Hinchingbrooke.

“Working in a school is all about teamwork and I have worked with some wonderful people in my career and this seems to me as if they enjoyed it as much as I did.”

He added: “I’m very glad to hear about Caroline Hansford who picked up and MBE for the splendid Malawi project. I was actually involved in the process myself having nominated her.

“It is terrific for Hinchingbrooke to have two people named in the honours list - it must be unusual for a school to have two people honoured in the same year.”

Bob Burn-Murdoch, the long-serving curator of the Norris Museum in St Ives, was awarded an MBE.

It was a final surprise in the job for the 60-year-old as he retired on Monday (December 31) after helping to make a great success of the Norris Museum and use his passion for local history to entertain audiences at his talks and through a column in The Hunts Post.

“It was a shock, but I am absolutely delighted,” Mr Burn-Murdoch said. “We have had a big push to improve the museum over the last 30 years with a lot of people involved – the friends of the museum and a lot of other groups involved. It’s been a common effort and I’ve been the figurehead, so this honour is for everyone as far as I am concerned.”

Louis Smith, 23, was back in the spotlight after his success on Strictly Come Dancing, being given an MBE for his achievements in two Olympic Games. The gymnast who has trained at Huntingdon Gym Club since he was a boy, said: “To receive this honour is out of this world and something I never would have dreamt of as I grew up in the sport of gymnastics.”

Louis, who won bronze on the pommel horse in Beijing 2008, as well as a bronze and silver in London, added: “I’m honoured to be alongside so many other incredible sportspeople on the list. I just hope this acts as even more inspiration for future generations within sport in this country, further continuing the Olympic legacy.”

But Louis will be the only man at Huntingdon Gym Club with an MBE – his coach Paul Hall was also given the honour.

Mr Hall, who has worked at the gym for about 18 yearsxx, said it was a very special time. “This is the icing on the cake for the gym. If you would have said at the beginning of last year that Louis Smith would be a triple Olympic medallist and both of us would receive an honour, I wouldn’t have believed you.

“It really has put Huntingdon Gym on the map, growing from nothing to being at the forefront of world gymnastics.”

He added: “It wasn’t hard keeping it a secret but I did tell my wife. I couldn’t tell the girls as they would have told the world.”

There were also honours for Caroline Hansford (MBE), the founder of the Malawi Education Link, former Ivo School student Jonathan Peacock (MBE), the Paralympic sprinter, and Ronald Stanley (MBE), a senior systems engineer for Ofcom who lives in St Neots. British Empire Medals (BEM) were awarded to Margaret Perryman, for services to the community in Needingworth, and June Wilson, for services to the community in Brampton.